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DUI and Hit and Runs

Unfortunately, we hear stories of horrible accidents and deaths associated with driving under the influence (DUI) every day, several times a day. Florida has seen an increase in these crashes recently, with hit and run accidents involving fatalities on the rise. Even worse, some of these DUI cases also overlap with leaving the scene of an accident, whereby someone who is involved in an accident or crash willfully leaves the scene without providing their information.

The Law

Generally speaking, there are three types of charges associated with the leaving the scene of an accident: accidents causing personal injury or death, those involving occupied vehicles or property, and those involving an unattended vehicle or property. Florida law requires vehicle drivers involved in a crash that results in serious bodily injury or death to immediately stop and remain at the scene of the crash. Drivers must also provide their contact and driver’s license information and render reasonable assistance to anyone who is injured and/or report the accident to law enforcement agencies.

As passed in 2014, it also increases the penalty for leaving the scene. For example:

  • It is a second degree felony to leave the scene of a serious accident;
  • There is now a mandatory minimum prison term of four years for a driver convicted of leaving the scene after a death;
  • The minimum prison term has been increased to four years for a driver who leaves the scene of a crash while driving under the influence; and
  • The minimum driver’s license revocation period is three years.

Even if there is simply property damage and no bodily injury involved in an accident, a driver has the duty to immediately stop their vehicle and exchange information. Where the other driver’s conduct has contributed to any losses suffered by a victim (i.e. where there is a connection between a criminal act and harm suffered), the victim can typically obtain compensation. This not only applies to harm caused by driving under the influence, but any harm caused by a hit and run if the failure for the driver to remain at the scene contributed to and/or exacerbated the victim’s injuries.

Experienced Clearwater Car Accident Attorneys

Hiring an attorney in a DUI and/or hit and run case is critically important. An experienced attorney will cover all the necessary bases, including scrutinizing the police report, keeping a client protected from incriminating statements, and presenting the crucial facts at trial.

Mike Walker has knowledge and experience gained from years of experience negotiating and litigating successful personal injury settlements and verdicts for victims of Clearwater car accidents, including accidents caused by drunk drivers. Call 727-797-2020 for a consultation with Mike Walker, or contact the office online to schedule an appointment.

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